David Cameron has refused to turn up at next week’s Prime Minister’s Questions, saying it’s not his job to answer for the Government.
“I said when I took on this job that I wanted to do politics differently and I was fed up with the Punch and Judy Show in Parliament. Today I am declaring that it is an old-fashioned concept that the man who leads the Government should actually have to appear in public and account for its actions. We have to put the politics of the past where they belong- in the dustbin of history,” he said.
The move has shocked observers who said it had always been assumed that the Prime Minister of the country had to accept ultimate responsibility for its policies. But Mr Cameron said that was untrue. “It is my view that I am better staying behind the scenes, away from the public gaze, manipulating events and pushing others to the front so I can hide and see how they get on. That way I avoid embarrassing questions I can’t answer and don’t get overexposed.”
Mr Cameron intends still to appear daily in photo-shoots and on the sofa in lifestyle interviews but wants others to speak on his behalf on trickier subjects like the economy and Scottish independence.
“Look, people are always saying how poor our politicians are so I’m responding by giving other people a chance to shine. Otherwise how will they ever learn?”
It is uncertain who will stand in at PMQs because Nick Clegg also says its not his responsibility to justify ultra right wing policies like withdrawing from the European Convention on Human rights and leaving the EU. He also doesn’t agree with benefits changes, lack of investment in green energy or tax policy. “I can’t be answerable for this right wing ragbag of vindictive nutcase nonsense,” he said.
One suggestion is that convention could be breached to allow Nigel Farage a go at presenting government policy. “He’s pretty much dictating what we do anyway,” said a backbencher.
The other option is that Ed Miliband simply asks himself questions since there is so little to choose between the parties. Labour strategists are against this though as they believe he might end up doing a better presentation of Tory policy than his own.
Meanwhile Mr Cameron may confound critics by turning up to ask questions of Alex Salmond at First Minister’s Questions. “I am not as scared as people make out,” he said. “So long as I can ask questions about Scotland and not have to answer any, I’m happy. Isn’t that the place where Sam’s family have 30,000 acres on Jura and I go shooting and we had that awful oik from BBC Scotland – Campbell, was it? – filming me and looking like my ghillie?”